Fearless Females: Prompt 3

The Fearless Female prompts were created and posted at The Accidental Genealogist

I’m a bit late to the game for this but figured I’d post a few this month anyway!

The first two prompts ask about a favorite female ancestor and for a picture of a female ancestor. I’ve discussed my favorite female ancestor, Lillie McLeod a bit before, and shared a possible picture of her so I figured I’d skip those two.

The third prompt asks: Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

My first name, Nichelle, is a bit unique but doesn’t come from any ancestors in my tree. Although I love to say it came from my mom’s love of Star Trek, that’s not true. She just had a friend who had a daughter with it as a middle name and loved it. I didn’t actually like having a unique name growing up (no personalized key chains/mugs/pencils/etc. for me) but now I love it, even though my name always requires a bit of an explanation.

It’s Nichelle, just like Michelle, but with an N like Nicole

Interestingly, with my unique first name, my middle name is NOT unique. I would bet many women have it – Marie. So where did it come from?

Erma Marie Almy's graduation picture

Erma Marie Almy’s graduation picture

My beautiful great-grandmother! Erma Marie (Almy) Witherell.

Before getting married, I had debated a few things with my name:

  • Doing the traditional thing and taking my husband’s name
  • Keeping my maiden name
  • Putting my maiden name as my middle name, dropping Marie

As a genealogist, my maiden name means quite a bit to me. I have a history with that name after all, so losing it to have my husband’s name was something I had to think about. I had considered keeping it as my middle name but that meant losing Marie unless I wanted an incredibly long name (I didn’t). Again, as a genealogist, I also knew where that name came from.

Considering all I knew about my great-grandmother, I decided to go the traditional route and simply take my husband’s name. My great-grandmother was quite a woman and I wanted to keep my middle-name in memory of some of the fascinating things I knew about her: her love of motorcycles, her love of travel, her incredible fashion sense, and her love of her family.

I don’t regret doing that in the least 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. I have a little spiel ready to explain my name too. “Amberly, like Kimberly.” Otherwise people think it’s one of these: Amber Lee, Amberlee, or Amberlie.

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